Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 --- 8:50 p.m.
Nearly 10,000 students are graduating in the Madison area this weekend. So how many of them will get hired right out of school?
A recent survey of employers shows companies plan to hire nearly 9 percent more graduates from the class of 2014 than they did from the class of 2013. Experts say the increase is a result of the overall economy turning around.
But that's not enough reason to sit back and relax. Graduates say getting a job comes down to experience.
"It was really hard work at first and I am really happy I made it this far," said Gabriela Abrajan Mendez. "Hopefully I do get hired soon."
The 22-year-old is graduating from the human services program at Madison College.
She's currently interning with the Madison school district in the hopes that it will lead to a paying job.
"That's what I want first, to get some experience at least in the human services program that I have, and later on get a master's," Abrajan Mendez said.
Sitting a couple rows ahead at Friday night's graduation ceremony for Madison College, Ron Butkus is already working as an LTE park ranger for the county. But the recreational management major also has his sights set on something bigger.
"With my county position, I'm hoping to get in the national parks or get in with the DNR and be a conservation warden or a national park ranger," he said.
Butkus says gaining that experience now, is what makes him confident he'll be employed down the road. "It's kind of unknown, but it's kind of exciting at the same time to kind of figure out where I'm going to go, where my path leads to. But I'm optimistic about it. I'm going to be happy."